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personal - Italy Tour - 2006

Itinerary for Days 9 to 10 according to the brochure.

picture of my suitcase

Day 9: Sorrento

At leisure in that most relaxing of resorts, Sorrento, with views across to the dormant volcano Vesuvius. As well as the pretty main square, Piazza Tasso, the town offers a delightful network of alleyways crammed with shops and restaurants while offshore lie the spectacular islands of Capri and Ischia. There is an optional excursion to the island of Capri.

Day 10: Sorrento to Cannara

Today sees us journeying to delightful Cannara, where we enjoy dinner and an overnight stay at the Hotel Hortensis (3*)

Personal Commentary

Day Nine

One of the first things I did upon waking was to grab my camera. From the bathroom window I managed to take a wonderful shot of the Gulf of Naples. I even ventured out of my room, somewhat indecently dressed, to take one from a window at the end of the corridor. We shared our breakfast room with Americans before boarding the coach for our trip to Capri. We left the coach at the dock and boarded the Ferry for Capri at 8:05am. Mario was our guide. The trip took 25 minutes during which we got a good view of mount Versuvius. We arrived at Capri and undertook a walking/minibus tour around the island.

We were taken to the center Piazza Umberto, known simply as the Piazzetta, a small and colorful square beneath the clock tower in Capri town. This is apparently the main meeting place on the island. We walked around the island and bought some limoncello, a lemon liqcour which is a specialty of the island. We were shown the Gruppe gardens and some spectacular views from that point. I have to say that at this point I realised, much to my horror, that I was suffering from diarrhoea.

Mario took us to a restaurant where we ate a simple meal and then complained about the amount we had been charged. Mario sorted it out for us. We received a refund and shook hands with the proprietor of the restaurant ... but it did leave us feeling quite annoyed. We exchanged some travellers cheques ( with a charge of 3%) and then three intrepid travellers - myself, Eileen and Alan - bought a ticket near Piazza Vittoria for the chair lift to the island's highest point - Monte Solaro 589 miles above sea level. (24 minute round trip)

Ok if some of you have been on chair lifts at ski resorts then this would have been nothing to you. But for me this was exciting. We were positioned on a particular spot and a chair came round and scooped us up, propelling us upwards. In reality we were never more than 20 feet from the ground at any one point I'd suggest, but it was so exciting to take pictures, and look at the scenery as we went higher and higher. Interesting to gaze on the ground at the assortment of odd shoes and hats dropped by chair-lift passengers. Anyone coming to Capri HAS to take this ride!

Once at the top we got some absolutely spectacular views of the Gulf of Naples and the Faraglioni rocks, with boats weaving their way around and through them! The Faraglioni rocks are three jutting limestone formations that rise from the sea off the Punta Tragara on the southern shore. The largest, called Faraglione di Terra, since it is attached to the island, rises 109m above the water. The second is 81m high and has a natural arch 60m across. The third is 104m high.

At the top there is also a complex of belvederes (with bars and solariums) including the remains of the "Fortino di Bruto", a blockhouse built in the early 19th century during the battles between England and France. Apparently you can walk down, trekking for 60 minutes. Needless to say, I took the chair-lift down.

We took a hour-long boat excursions around the island from the Marina Grande. Besides going past sites like the Faraglioni outcrops we passed the island's many grottoes, including the famed Blue Grotto.

We were told about how Gracie Fields loved the island. I think she may have been buried on the island too... I can't remember. To be honest I was more interested in the stories about the Emperor Tiberius, who lived on the island. It's strange how the more morbid stories are always the more fascinating. We saw the ruins of Villa Jovis, the largest of the 12 villas that the emperor is said to have built for himself there. Nearby, we saw a precipice called the Salto di Tiberio is where, Tiberius had his enemies hurled into the sea.

We were given tickets for the ferry back to Sorrento. I battled to contain my growing illness. Louise gave me some Imodium, which seemed to ease the problem and I went back to the hotel, had my evening meal and sacrificed a walk around Sorrento for the security of my room and the assured proximity of my lavatory.

Day Ten

I woke up at 1:30am with severe Diarrhoea and I'm afraid the lavatory became my home for most of the night. Well on the bright side...I saw the sun rise! I missed breakfast but consumed copious amounts of water and jelly sweets to replace the fluid and give me some energy. I managed to drag myself to the coach - somewhat reluctantly. We were off to Asissi. We took the E45 back towards Rome. We were informed that we were going up the Flaminia Way, an ancient Roman road in Italy built by Gaius Flaminius in 220 BC. This general commanded the army that had Rome's heaviest military defeat - against Hannibal.

We arrived in Assisi for a walking tour with la nostre guide (our guide...just showing off) Marchello. To be honest, when you don't feel well, the last thing you feel like doing is sightseeing. However I will list what we saw. (Surprisingly enough I think I took a large number of pictures of Assisi). I think we parked at Piazza Matteotti. I did the toilet thing and then we took an external escalator - would you believe - up to higher ground. We walked past the Cattedral di Santa Rufino, an old church. I'd like to say I know where we went next, but I haven't the foggiest. We walked along ancient streets bordered by quaint shuttered buildings.

I managed to take some distant pictures of Chiesa Nuova and the tops of two other buildings near it - Santa Antonio and Tempio di Minerva. I can guarantee that, irrespective of the reasons for the original construction of these building, the latter two will be churches now. Assisi, understandably, is full with churches. We walked to Piazzetta di Francesco Piccolino to view what is believed to be the birthplace of St Francis. We walked into the Chiesa Nuova, built in 1615 on the remains of a building believed to the house of St. Francis Family and were given permission to take pictures

We entered the Piazza Santa Chiara to a waiting fountain, many tourists and the Bascilica of Saint Claire. The exterior of the building makes use of alternate strips of pink and white stone, with massive supporting arches either side. I went in and took a picture. I think this was allowed! We were left to our own devices for a while, and given a choice of walking to the coach or continuing the tour. I took a few shots of Pauline and Vicki by the fountain and rejoined the tour.

We walked along Corsa Mazzini into the Piazza del Comune for a good view of the Roman Temple of Minerva (dating from the 1st century B.C.), the 13th century Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, the Torre del Popolo, completed in 1305, and the Palazzo dei Priori (14th century) with the Municipal Art Gallery (Pinacoteca Comunale). It was noticeable that there was still a lot of supporting scaffolding on buildings following the earthquake in 1997. We entered the Basilica of Saint Francis, Assisi's most important monument and the burial place of St. Francis. External pictures only were permitted however I bought a guidebook. We viewed the Frescos, the more interesting of which were the 28 frescos by Giotto depicting the life of St. Francis and saw the damage that had been done following the earthquake.

By now I must confess, I was suffering from what is colloquially called 'The Squits'. We went back to the coach which went all too slowly for me towards the quiet town of Cannara and the Hotel Hortensis. This hotel was lovely. I had a lovely size room and a balcony with a spectacular view. I had an evening meal, took photographs of my fellow travellers who by now, were almost used to my eccentricities, went for a quick walk in pitch darkness, and went to bed. Incidentally on this day, July 4th, we were sharing the hotel with a group of young Americans so the watchword for the day was 'Awesome'.

Interesting Facts

Fact 1: Capri is approximately 4 square miles and is shaped like the number 8.

Fact 2: Capri and Anacapri stem from two settlements of Greeks and Venetians.

Fact 3: There are 12,000 people in total on the island of which 5000 live in Anacapri.

Fact 4: Capri has 54 sea caves.

Fact 5: St Francis and St Clara are the joint patron saints of Italy.

Fact 6: Assisi is in Umbria.

Fact 7: Tempio di Minerva is Assisi's oldest building.

Holiday pictures (56)

01: (link)  Sorrento - View from hotel toilet window

02: (link)  Sorrento - View from corridor window

03: (link)  Sorrento - Pauline, Vicki, Carol, Anthony on ferry to Capri

04: (link)  Capri

05: (link)  Capri - Piazza Umberto

06: (link)  Capri - Piazza Umberto - Clock Tower

07: (link)  Capri - Piazza Umberto -Emperor Tiberius Plaque

08: (link)  Anacapri - Monte Solaro

09: (link)  Capri - Faraglioni Rocks

10: (link)  Capri - Faraglioni Rocks

11: (link)  Anacapri - Chair lift to Monte Solaro

12: (link)  Capri - Rock formation

13: (link)  Capri - Rock formation

14: (link)  Capri - Versuvius

15: (link)  Margaret, Ann

16: (link)  Alan, Carol, Phil, Steve

17: (link)  Frida

18: (link)  Pauline, Lucy, Irene

19: (link)  Paul, Louise, Alan, Alan, Eileen, Gordon - Can you see them all?

20: (link)  Roger, Margaret, Vicki, Pauline, Gorden, Arthur, Frida

21: (link)  Margaret, Vicki, Pauline, Gorden, Arthur, Frida, and the nice waiter!

22: (link)  Lucy, Alice Len, Terry, Irene

23: (link)  Alan, Frank, Olive, Carol, Ivor, Anthony, Carol

24: (link)  Phil, Steve, Eileen, Alan, Paul, Louise, Ann, George

25: (link)  Cannara - Hotel Hortensis

26: (link)  Cannara - Frank and Olive outside Hotel Hortensis

27: (link)  Assisi - Cattedral di Santa Rufino (I think)

28: (link)  Assisi - Arch

29: (link)  Assisi - Dome of Chiesa Nuova through arch

30: (link)  Assisi - Rooftops - Santa Antonio and Tempio di Minerva

31: (link)  Assisi - Bascilica of Saint Claire

32: (link)  Assisi - Bascilica of Saint Claire

33: (link)  Assisi - Tower of Tempio di Minerva

34: (link)  Assisi - Piazzetta di Francesco piccolino

35: (link)  Assisi - Gate to residence of St Francis

36: (link)  Assisi - Inside residence of St Francis

37: (link)  Assisi - Inside Chiesa Nuova

38: (link)  Assisi - Inside Chiesa Nuova

39: (link)  Assisi - Statue of St. Francis and St. Clare outside Chiesa Nuova

40: (link)  Assisi - Outside Chiesa Nuova

41: (link)  Assisi - Vicki drinking from fountain in Piazza Santa Chiara

42: (link)  Assisi - Tempio di Minerva in Piazza del Comune

43: (link)  Assisi - Begger outside Piazza Santa Chiara

44: (link)  Assisi - Decoration inside Basilica di Santa Chiara

45: (link)  Assisi - Side Street

46: (link)  Assisi - Scenic view

47: (link)  Assisi - window with emblem

48: (link)  Assisi - Two old ladies talking

49: (link)  Assisi - Basilica of Saint Francis

50: (link)  Assisi - Basilica of Saint Francis

51: (link)  Assisi - Margaret

52: (link)  Assisi - Bird of peace in Basilica of Saint Francis

53: (link)  Assisi - Basilica of Saint Francis

54: (link)  Assisi - Basilica of Saint Francis

55: (link)  Assisi - Street back to city centre

55: (link)  Assisi - Building with shutters

56: (link)  Cannara - View from balcony - Hotel Hortensis

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